Long-term effect of sulfate ions and associated cation type on chloride-induced reinforcement corrosion in Portland cement concretes

This paper reports the influence of sulfate concentration on chloride-induced reinforcement corrosion in Portland cement concretes (with C3A varying from 3.6% to 9.65%). The concrete specimens were exposed to mixed chloride and sulfate solutions for a period of 1200 days. The chloride was fixed at 5% NaCl for all solutions, while the sulfate concentration was varied to represent that noted in the sulfate-bearing soil and ground water. The study included an assessment of the effect of cation type associated with sulfate ions, namely Na+ and Mg2+, on chloride-induced reinforcement corrosion, an important factor that has received little attention. Reinforcement corrosion was evaluated by measuring corrosion potentials and corrosion current density at regular intervals. The results indicate that the presence of sulfate ions in the chloride solution did not influence the time to initiation of chloride-induced reinforcement corrosion, but the rate of corrosion increased with increasing sulfate concentration. Further, the rate of chloride-induced reinforcement corrosion in the concrete specimens exposed to sodium chloride plus magnesium sulfate solutions was more than that in the concrete specimens exposed to sodium chloride plus sodium sulfate solutions.